Thursday, April 12, 2012

I was a Psych Major

Did I ever mention that I was a Psychology major in college?  Well, I was.  And I find human behavior fascinating.  In particular, I find it fascinating to try to observe where everyone's little neuroses rear their heads.  I believe that we all have them, some of us just hide them better than others.

So, one of the interesting things I've noticed about bowling alleys is that they are like a breeding ground for neuroses!  Bowling is an activity that many people can enjoy for many reasons.  For some folks it is truly about the sport: the excitement of rolling a relatively small object down a long lane and knocking down 10 pins is thrilling!  For others, though, it is about the comfort of routine and repetition.  This is where this guy comes in...

OCD guy

Yes, he is stretching out before he begins his (at least) weekly games.  Nearly every Friday that Jared and I have been to the lanes, this guy is also there.  If I were the diagnosing-without-proper-information-kind, I would guess that he has a fairly severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Although I have no idea if it transfers over to his everyday life, I know that it is fierce at the lanes.  He wears the same exact outfit every week.  He bowls on the same side of the alley every week, within a few lanes of where he was the previous week.  He bowls at the same time every Friday afternoon.  And his approach is exactly the same every roll.

The very first time that Jared and I encountered him at the lanes, I also thought that maybe he had some kind of social disorder, but now I don't.  He was very odd and awkward.  Now, though, I have seen him interact with plenty of folks, including us, and do not believe that he has any other personality disorders.  But he's still pretty interesting to observe.

The guy behind him in the picture (the one in the red shirt) is also a strange bird.  I think he may actually have some kind of developmental delay or disorder.  He's also fairly socially awkward.  He bowls every Friday afternoon, too, with the same friend (not pictured).  When we first noticed red-shirt-guy, the most interesting thing about him was that he was a fairly good bowler who often changed his own scores.  He probably averaged about 160 or so; but whenever he didn't get a mark (a strike or a spare), he would walk over to the computer keyboard and change his score to a mark.  It was very strange, almost as though he couldn't handle the truth about his own bowling abilities.

Anyway, recently he hasn't been changing his scores.  He's just improved with his bowling.  It's refreshing to see growth at the lanes!

All this is to say, though, that consistency is key to being a good bowler.  I've mentioned this before, in particular about inconsistency being the worst thing you can bring to a game.  But it's almost as though those who tend toward OCD or other disorders where routine and order are favored will be better bowlers than those who do not have these tendencies.

Make no mistake, this is not about control in the sense that everything is rigid and unchanged; but it's about consistency.  The fluid movements of someone's approach are consistent, not controlled.

Keeping your body aligned, your eyes focused, your approach the same, your follow through precise is exactly what wins games.  When Jared and I are bowling and we aren't being consistent, we often watch each others' form to see where we are off a little.

It's not a very scientifically based argument I'm making, but I would be curious to see if there are any studies out there on bowling being good therapy for some psychological disorders.

Anyway, I hope that someone out there finds this as interesting as I do!

1 comment:

  1. :-) I do things like this all the time. I love hearing about how you incorporate psychology at the lanes!